Government sets up Electronic Information & Transaction Law Review Team

14
Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud M. D. (Photo: Rayi Gigih/IO)

IO – The Government has officially established the Electronic Information and Transaction Law Review Team in order to check for possibility of revising this Law. The Team was established via the Decree of the Coor dinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs of the Republic of Indonesia Number 22 of 2021 and they will work until 22 May 2021. “The Team will discuss the substance of the Law to determine whether or not it contains loophole regulations. The House of Representatives (Dewan Perwakilan Rakyat – “DPR”) itself are divided into those who approve this Law and those who are against it, those who want a revision and those who don’t,” said Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud M. D., on Monday (22/02/2021).

The Decree further divides the Team into two divisions, the Directing Team and the Executing Team. The Directing Team will be under the control of the Ministry of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, while the members of the Executing Team will come from the Ministry of Communication and Informatics and the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. The Ministry of Communication and Informatics staff will comprise SubTeam 1, the Electronic Information and Transaction Law Implementation Criteria Formulation Team. This Sub-Team formulates the criteria for specific articles that are considered to be loopholes. The Ministry of Law and Human Rights staff will comprise Sub-Team 2, a Review of the

Electronic Information and Transaction Law’s Substance Team. This Sub-Team reviews the articles of the Electronic Information and Transaction Law to determine whether these articles need to be revised or not.

Minister Mahfud said while waiting for the completion of the review concerning the possibility of revising the Electronic Information and Transaction Law, the Government has ordered the Police and the General Attorney’s office to implement this Law selectively. The Government requests that multiple interpretation that may cause relevant people to feel they are being treated unfairly, be avoided. The establishment of this Team is the Government’s invitation to open up opportunity for democratic discussion. From the results of the Team’s discussions, the Government will then set their official stance on the Electronic Information and Transaction Law. “If the decision is that a revision is necessary, we will submit it to the DPR. As the Electronic Information and Transaction Law is included in the National Legislation Program (Program Legislasi Nasional – “Prolegnas”) 2024, revision is possible,” he said.

Exposit Strategic’s political analyst Arif Susanto said that the Electronic Information and Transaction Law contains three problematic articles: First, Article 27 Paragraph (1) concerning the distribution, transmission, and/or allowing access to electronic information and/or documents that contain immoral content. This Article frequently catches victims of

immoral action instead. “For example, some people possess intimate content, which then becomes distributed. The problem is, it is usually not the person distributing the content that gets punished, or the one making the recording, but the one captured in the content who is arrested and imprisoned based on this multiple-interpretation Article,” he said in the discussion titled “Revising the Electronic Information and Transaction Law: After Victims Fell” held on Friday (19/02/2021).

Second, Article 27 Paragraph (3) concerning the accusation that an electronic information content besmirching a person’s reputation. Arif said that many cases could have been resolved via mediation, but the Article allows the possibility of arrest and imprisonment of relevant parties.

Third, Article 28 Paragraph (2) concerning hate speech relating to tribal origins, religion, and member ship of a social group (suku, agama, ras, dan antaragolongan – “SARA”) in an item of electronic information and/or documentation. “For example, let’s say I just blurted out something or typed something in the heat of the moment that it offends others by mistake. Such insulting contents should be specified in order to prevent this from being a loophole regulation,” Arif said.

Lingkar Madani (Lima)’s political observer Ray Rangkuti adds that when the Electronic Information and Transaction Law is revised, the Police as law enforcer must be a good listener for citizens who wish to criticize

RAYI GIGIH/IO

Coordinating Minister of Political, Legal, and Security Affairs, Mahfud M. D.

the Government’s performance. “The Government must allow as many public channels as possible for inputting opinion, which will help stabilize our Government in the current hard times. We hope that all enforcers will act as good listeners,” he said.

Ray believes that other than the Electronic Information and Transaction Law, the Criminal Code must also be revised. “I don’t think that revising this Law will generate significant impact if the current Criminal

Code still contains the same stipulations,” he said. “For example, the regulation concerning besmirching or reputation stipulated in Article 27 Paragraph (3) of the Electronic Information and Transaction Law is exactly the same as the stipulation in Articles 310 and 311 of the Criminal Code. If the Code is not revised at the same time, mutual reporting will continue, just not based on Electronic Information and Transaction Law anymore.”

Ray reiterates that President Joko Widodo also needs to review the provisions of the Criminal Code to ensure that there is sufficient space for the public to critique and express their opinions. “Because otherwise it will only be changing legal basis, but the practice will remain the same. If it’s not based on Electronic Information and Transaction Law, people will be using the Criminal Code. It will result in the same thing,” he said. (eka)